Built in the 1940’s and 1950’s as an answer to a housing shortage related to returning soldiers from World War II, Anderson Village was comprised of 169, small two and three bedroom brick cottages. The cottages were sited close to each other and the neighborhood centered on a park in the middle of the development. Many of the residents of the neighborhood worked in the adjacent Anderson Mill (later Meritas Mills) or the Bibb Mill located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River at 38th Street.
Uniquely, the houses in Anderson Village were constructed of solid brick rather than a veneer on a wood frame due to a lumber shortage resulting from wood being needed during the war effort. Another interesting piece of history related to the housing is that all of the homes were owned by the Bibb Manufacturing Co. until 1964. City Directories show that between 80 – 90% of the tenants became homeowners when the Bibb Manufacturing Company offered the homes for purchase. On average, the homes sold for $6,000.00 at 6.5% for 20 years. The average house payments were around $40 per month.
One of the suspected reasons for disposing of the company housing was likely pressure from the Federal government to integrate housing. Even by the 1960’s no African Americans had been given the opportunity to live in Anderson Village, even if they worked at the mill. So, in opposition to integrating the housing, the company chose to sell the homes to private buyers.
Today, there are many homes in Anderson Village that retain their original footprints. The houses remain affordable and efficient. Local housing developer Neighborworks Columbus is working to renovate some of the long vacant homes and help place affordable mortgages on them for new owners. Additionally, Neighborworks is putting the final touches on a new multi-family development on the site of the Anderson Mill. The project is set to be complete in the next few months.
If you are able, please consider joining or making a donation to Historic Columbus. Your contribution will increase heritage education programming in our public schools and preservation projects along the Second Avenue corridor, the original city, City Village, Waverly Terrace, and MidTown Columbus. These are the places where your gift can make a transformational difference in a child’s sense of place and strengthen our neighborhoods one house at a time.